Police said 94 people were arrested during violent protests on Monday, when security forces used tear gas and water cannon to disperse demonstrators in Harare.
President Robert Mugabe’s government has delayed pay dates for civil servants as treasury funds run short after years of economic decline and a severe agricultural drought.
Zimbabwe spends at least 80 percent of its revenue on state workers’ wages, according to officials, while about 90 percent of the population is out of formal employment.
On Tuesday, teachers at many schools in Harare returned home at the start of the strike, while absences were reported at government offices following trade union calls to halt work.
“We have heeded the call,” by our governing council, Zimbabwe Teachers’ Union President Richard Gundani told AFP.
“Teachers and the rest of the civil servants are declaring their incapacity to go to work.
“Government departments were operating without some of their staff who stayed at home.”
Among public sector workers, only police and security forces were paid in June. Civil servants received a $100 advance with the news their salaries had been delayed.
The strike is the latest in a series of protests to hit the southern African country, which has been ruled by Mugabe since independence from Britain in 1980.
In eastern parts of Harare on Monday, protesting public minibus drivers and local residents clashed with police, who they accuse of extracting bribes at roadblocks.
Amnesty International’s Muleya Mwananyanda criticised the authorities after footage showed protesters being beaten with sticks.
“The deplorable use of force by the police against protesters amounts to human rights violations,” she said. “Police must stop using force to suppress dissenting voices.”
Last week hundreds of people blocked the Beitbridge border post, a gateway to South Africa, to protest against a government ban on food imports.
At least 71 people were arrested.
Mugabe, 92, still appears regularly in public walking unaided and delivers long, fiery speeches, but he has shown increasing signs of ill health.
He has vowed to stand again as president in elections due in 2018, and named no successor.
“In 2008, soldiers rioted on Harare’s streets and fought with police as their salaries were then also delayed,” Robert Besseling, head of EXX Africa risk intelligence, said in a note.
“A military coup or other form of political intervention is increasingly likely as the Zimbabwean economy stagnates and rumours around President Robert Mugabe’s health condition intensify.”
In April, the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) staged the biggest anti-Mugabe protest in decades calling on the president to step down.
Similar demonstrations have been ruthlessly crushed in the past.
Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said Harare was calm on Tuesday.
“People are freely moving to and from town though we had minor disturbances in the central business district,” she told AFP.